LA Reid Exists Arista Records...
Arista President 'L.A.' Reid Exits
NEKESA MUMBI MOODY
NEW YORK - Antonio "L.A." Reid, who took the helm at Arista Records nearly
four years ago and oversaw platinum successes from acts including OutKast,
Pink and Avril Lavigne, has left the label, it was announced Tuesday.
Reid became president and CEO of Arista in May 2000 after the company's
founder and CEO, Clive Davis, left because of parent company BMG's mandatory
Reid was not available to comment, according to an Arista spokeswoman.
Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, chairman and CEO of BMG, called Reid "one of the music
industry's top record men."
"His passion for working with and developing some of the world's best
artists is unparalleled," Schmidt-Holtz said in a statement Tuesday. "I
sincerely wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors."
Reid's departure comes at a surprising time; OutKast has the top two songs
on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and "Milkshake" from Kelis, another Arista
artist, is No. 3. It also has the top-selling album in the country with
OutKast's "Speakerboxxx-The Love Below," which earned six Grammy nominations
last month, including album of the year.
The company has also had successes this year with albums from Sarah
McLachlan and Dido. But the follow-up album from Pink, "Try This," has sold
poorly since its release in the fall; her last album, "M!ssundaztood," sold
more than 5 million copies.
Reid also re-signed Whitney Houston to a $100 million contract in 2001,
despite rumors of drug use and erratic behavior about the singer, who's the
label's best-selling artist. Houston's subsequent album, "Just Whitney," was
the poorest-selling disc of her career.
Michael Smellie, BMG's chief operating officer, will be in charge of Arista
A spokesman for BMG, Nathaniel Brown, said the company's recent announcement
of a planned merger with Sony's music division had nothing to do with Reid's
Reid first gained prominence in the early '80s as a founding member of the
R&B group The Deele, which featured then unknown Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.
Edmonds and Reid went on to build a successful production and songwriting
partnership with hits for artists such as Houston, and later for the group's
own label, LaFace Records, whose artists included Toni Braxton, TLC and
Davis, whom Reid replaced, later founded J Records with backing from BMG and
is now head of RCA Music Group.
13 JANUARY 2004